It’s not quite a defection, but in an email he just blasted out, Ahmed Salkini, the Syrian embassy spokesman says he’s leaving for the U.S. "private sector" and notes his recent "conspicuous" silence:
The time has come for me to step down from my current position and move on. I have recently accepted an exciting job offer in the private sector and will be moving to Maryland. I will leave you all in the capable hands of my colleague, Ms. Roua Sharbaji, the Embassy’s Press Attaché. You can reach her at xxxxxxxxxxx or at her office, xxxxxxxx.
As many of you have pointed out, I have been conspicuously silent since the beginning of the events in Syria, and at times, even unresponsive. For the latter, I apologize.
I leave my position during the most difficult, yet promising of times in Syria’s modern history. I have been pained by every drop of Syrian blood lost. Still, I am certain of, and comforted by, the fact that Syria will emerge from this crisis more democratic, unified, freer, and stronger than ever.
Please do keep in touch. You can always reach me at my personal e-mail xxxxxxxx, or find me on Facebook. Thank you for an indelible experience; it has truly been an honor to work in this capacity with you all.
The email came from his embassy address — I’m making calls to see if it was hacked.
Allowing Palestinians to breach the Golan border, allowing protesters to besiege western embassies — these are not healthy signs of control for the Assad regime.
Neither is, in its smaller way, an embassy staffer declaring to one and all his decision to stay in the United States and his own "conspicuous silence."